Why Discourse Matters
Negotiating Identity in the Mediatized World
The volume provokes a new proposition that it is necessary to go beyond the safe havens of disciplinary strongholds with familiar terminology, methodology, and questions to address future inquiries into discourse and identity from a combination of linguistics and journalistic media studies.
Table Of Contents
- About the author(s)/editor(s)
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Table of Contents
- List of Tables
- Preface: Why Discourse Matters: Negotiating Identity in the Mediatized World, Paul Chilton
- Chapter One: Introduction: Discourse, Identity, and the Public Sphere, Monika Weronika Kopytowska and Yusuf Kalyango, Jr.
- Identity Work
- Mediatized Public Sphere
- The Structure of This Volume
- In Summary
- Section I: Discourse and Identity Revisited
- Chapter Two: Media Discourse as a Double-Edged Sword in Ethnic Integration, Mei Li Lean and Maya Khemlani David
- The Role of Media as Social Capital
- The Reporting of Ethnic Relations by the Media
- Critical Discourse Analysis
- The Discursive Representation of Ethnic Groups
- Newspaper Headlines
- Quotation Patterns
- Chapter Three: Terrorism and Middle East Identity on Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya Websites, Li Zeng, Zhiwen Xiao, and Khalat Tahat
- Al Jazeera
- Al Arabiya
- Media and Terrorism
- Media Framing of Terrorism
- News Frames
- Religious Affliation of Terrorists and Terrorism Victims
- Locations of Terrorism Coverage
- Research Questions
- The Sample from Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya
- Identity of Terrorism in the Online Media Discourse
- Identity of Terrorism in the Two Websites
- The International Approach vs. the Arab Perspective
- Chapter Four: Memory and Identity in the Public Sphere: Northern Irish Murals, Laura Filardo-Llamas and Elena González-Cascos Jiménez
- Why Northern Ireland? What’s in There?
- How Do We Analyze Murals? A Discursive Approach
- Remembering the Republican Past
- Remembering the Loyalist Past
- Chapter Five: Identity, Discourse and Cultural Signifers in Indian Game Shows, Enakshi Roy
- KBC, the Beginning
- Situating the Gameshow in the Context of Glocalization
- How This Study Was Conducted
- Creating an Indian Identity of the Millionaire Model
- Language in Creating National Identity
- Hosts Create a National Identity
- Questions that Create a National Identity
- Historical Questions
- Questions Concerning Mytholog y and Religion
- Cricket References
- References to Bollywood
- Chapter Six: Pictures in Our Heads: Crisis, Confict and Drama, Monika Weronika Kopytowska
- Social Reality, Mediatization, and Proximization
- Africa in the Media: What, How and Why?
- Images of the Confict in Darfur – Analysis
- Data and Methodology
- Section II: Discursive Dynamics of Power, Gender, and Ideology
- Chapter Seven: Media Discourse of President Barack Obama in Sub-Saharan Africa, Godwin Etse Sikanku and Margaret Ivy Amoakohene
- Discursive Framing
- Identity Construction and Barack Obama’s Persona
- News Tone, Episodic, and Thematic Frames
- Research Questions
- Discursive and Content Analysis
- Discursive Themes of Representation
- Democracy and Good Governance
- History and Memory
- Responsibility and Empowerment
- Soft News
- Obama and Types of Identity
- Frames and Identity Narratives
- Chapter Eight: New York Times Rhetorical Discourse Framing of Two Gadhafan Protégés, Yusuf Kalyango Jr. and Jared Henderson
- Media Framing
- Gadhafian Ideology and Rhetoric
- Idi Amin in a Nutshell
- Uganda after President Amin
- International News Coverage
- Research Question
- Rhetorical Discourse
- New York Times Framing
- Muammar Gadhafi’s Era
- Idi Amin’s Era
- Uganda under President Museveni
- Gadhafian Rhetorical Discourse Framing
- Chapter Nine: Reading Images: African Women in the British News, Kate Azuka Omenugha
- The Black African Woman in the European Mind
- Creating Discursive Room for “the Other”
- Qualitative Cross-cultural Audience
- African Women—What Type of Representation?
- Reading Images, Identifying Positions and Locating Cross-cultural Myths
- Colonial Trajectories/Positions
- Feminist Integrationist Positions
- Cultural Integrationist Positions
- African Women and Nudity
- Enduring Representations: Myths of African Women
- The Myth of the Strong Black African Woman
- Physical Strength
- Family Centered
- Chapter Ten: Agent of Change or Compromise? Jesse Jackson’s 1988 Presidential Campaign, Bryan McLaughlin and Hemant Shah
- The Declining Significance of Race
- Universalism and Its Discontents
- Unanticipated Electoral Success
- Dreams from Barack Obama
- Social Reality through Discourse
- The Critical Issue of the Day
- Identification of the Problems in the United States
- The Status of Racial Progress
- Identification of Who Is to Blame
- Jackson’s Construction of Self-identity
- Perspectives on US Race Relations
- Agent of Change or Compromise?
- Chapter Eleven: The Ideology of Sexuality in Media Discourse and Text, Jared Henderson and Yusuf Kalyango, Jr.
- The Presence of Homosexuality in Media
- Religious, Sexual, and Political Identities
- Media and Discourses on Sexuality
- Research Questions
- Discourse Methodology
- Ideology of Sexual Identity
- Sexuality in Media Discourse
- Chapter Twelve: Framing Discourse and the Collective Memory of College Athletics, Ashley D. Furrow
- Framing Discourse and Collective Memory
- Critical Discourse Analysis
- Defining Men as Men
- Martial Mentality
- “Mens Sana In Corpore Sano”
- Benefits of College Athletics
- Solving the Identity Crisis
- Section III: Theorizing Identity and Discourse Across Disciplines
- Chapter Thirteen: “Soft” and “Hard” Theories of Identity: Orientalism, Aryanism, and Race, Christopher Hutton
- The Japhetic Worldview: A Sketch of a History
- Distant Origins
- Long-term Trends in European Identity Theory
- The Persistence of the Premodern Moral Geography
- Chapter Fourteen: Proximization, Threat Construction, and Symbolic Distancing in Political Discourse, Piotr Cap
- The STA Proximization Model
- Axiological Proximization in Phase Two Rhetoric of the Iraq War
- The Axiological (A) Proximization Framework
- Counts From the (A) Framework
- Chapter Fifteen: Religious-Ethnic Identities in Multicultural Societies: Identity in the Global Age, Padmini Banerjee and Myna German
- Need for a New Paradigm
- Conceptions of Identity
- The Nature of Postmodern Identities
- Modal Personalities
- Berry’s Model of Acculturation
- The Search for a New Paradigm
- Implications of the New Paradigm
- Chapter Sixteen: Critical Discourse Analysis, Power, and New Media Discourse, Majid KhosraviNik
- Media Power and Society
- New Media, Norms and Data
- New Dynamics of Power and Discourse?
- Discourse Analysis and New Media
- Concluding Discussion
- Chapter Seventeen: Discourse Analysis and the Challenge of Identities, Bob Hodge
- Discourse/Identity/Media as Complex Object
- Discourse and Ideology
- Technology and Identity
- Discursive Causality
- Chapter Eighteen: Conclusion: Discourse Matters: Beyond Disciplinar y Boundaries, Monika Weronika Kopytowska
- Who are We? Who are Them? Why it Matters
- List of Contributors
| vii →
Table 2-1. Frequency and Percentage of the Various ‘Voices’ (Malays)
Table 2-2. Frequency and Percentage of the Various ‘Voices’ (Chinese)
Table 2-3. Frequency and Percentage of the various ‘Voices’ (Indian)
Table 3-1. Overview of Stories by News Frame, Religious Affiliation of Terrorists and Victims, and Location of Terrorism
Table 4-1. Northern Ireland Murals: Republican-related Historical Events
Table 4-2. Northern Ireland Murals: Loyalist-related Historical Events and Military Images
Table 6-4. Keywords in the NBC Corpus
Table 7-1. Discursive Themes of Representation
Table 7-2. Favorable and Unfavorable Portrayals of Africa in the Media
Table 7-3. Types of Stories about Africa in the Media
Table 8-1. The New York Times Coverage of Uganda and Amin (1971 – 1980)
Table 8-2. The New York Times Coverage of Uganda and Museveni (1991 – 2000)
Table 10-1. Themes and the Number of Speeches in Which They Appeared
Table 14-1. Phase Differences in the Number of Lemmas and Syntactic Forms (ctg. 3) Defining the Axiological Framework of the Iraq War Rhetoric
Table 15-1. Relationship between Sense of Religious-Ethnic Identity and Degree of Acculturation (based on Berry’s model of acculturation)
| ix →
Human society as we understand it is unimaginable without the unique form of communication that humans use – language, whether it is mediated by sound, gesture or printed alphabets. Other species live in groups that we can recognize as ‘social’ and they use forms of communication. Human languages, however, have a unique structural characteristics that are bound up with the complexity of human social formations and their potential for variety and change. Nonetheless, human language combines with semiotic modalities more obviously present in other species, based on posture, facial expression, direction of movement and visual display.
When human use of language is being studied as an integral element of social processes and structures it has come to be referred to as ‘discourse’. There are both static and dynamic ways of thinking about ‘discourse’. The term ‘discourse’ can be used to refer to the daily social activity of humans putting words together when cooperating, arguing, negotiating, or amusing themselves and one another. Because this dynamic can lead to groupings and social institutions over time, the linguistic outcome can be repeatable kinds of language use that are bound up with complex interlocking communities, situations, roles, functions , ideas, attitudes and values. Such recognizable patterns are sometimes called “discourses,” as when sociologists and others speak of gendered discourse(s), racist discourse(s) or bureaucratic discourse(s). Such socially crucial distinctions are only possible ← ix | X → because speakers are sensitive to patterns of selection at the phonetic, lexical, grammatical, pragmatic and conceptual levels.
Discourse and discourses can be viewed in many ways and in relation to many aspects of human personality and social activity. Monika Weronika Kopytowska and Yusuf Kalyango, Jr., together with their contributors, are particularly concerned with “identity”—an aspect of human social life that has preoccupied scholars across several scientific disciplines. It has also become an important idea in popular consciousness that now seems to enter reflexively into the way people build a self-image and interact with others. Identity matters. And the editors of the present volume are right to focus on the fact that this is a major reason why discourse matters.
What is the concept of identity? It might be understood as ‘sameness’. But, logically speaking, two separate things are obviously not the same thing, as Wittgenstein noted. And it seems to be saying not very much to say that a thing is the same as itself. And what of objects whose constituent parts are completely replaced over time with parts of the same form and substance? In the context of social groups and socialized individual beings, such questions are not entirely irrelevant. It does make sense to say that identity in the social perspective is to be understood as a similarity between two or more individuals who share a sufficiently big set of properties, sufficient, that is, for some purpose such as being regarded as belonging to some group. But identity in such a context is much more than that, since it self-evidently matters so much to individuals. Not only are recognizably differentiated social groups part and parcel of complex social processes and structures, they are part of the what is experienced by the individual psyche as constituting the “self.”
This in turn indicates that identity, in the sense we want to talk about here, is a matter of mind, or, more accurately of the interaction of minds in a certain way in social aggregates. The core of the matter is that identity is something that is ascribed to others or to oneself simultaneously– it’s a way both of thinking about others and thinking about oneself. There is an irreducibly subjective aspect to our concept of social identity: it is not simply a descriptive category. Objectively, if you ride a bicycle, you belong to the set of people who ride bicycles in virtue of the activity itself. This doesn’t mean you espouse “cyclist” as your identity (or part of it) in the intended sense of the term. You need to think of yourself as “a cyclist.” Maybe you also act, dress and even talk in certain ways. Having an identity is really “doing an identity” as well as thinking it. This means you signal it in a way that At least, this is the case from the point of view of certain ways of ← x | xi → talking—certain discourses—in some parts of contemporary society (from your own and others’ perspectives) as a cyclist.
Language is important here and pervades all analyses of what personal and social identity is. The word “cyclist” conceptualizes a category that can be used in utterances that in turn can be used either descriptively or performatively. Further, describing somebody by saying “he is a cyclist” may be more than objectively descriptive: it may evoke a stereotype, that is, evoke selected elements in accordance with agreed preferences of a social group (the agreement is often tacit, of course). Again, saying “I am a cyclist” is not the same as saying “I ride a bicycle.” It seems to belong to a context in which the speaker is making an assertion in order to prompt hearers to recognize not that the speaker habitually engages in cycling and not just that she belongs to a certain category of people but that she regards her objective membership of the group “cyclists” as being part of “who she is.” Such cases evoke cognitive frames that go beyond necessary and sufficient features and associate with variable properties, including for example being athletic, competitive, environmentalist, an annoyer of motorists, and the like. If the example seems trivial, try it with “accountant,” “pianist,” “Englishman,” “Muslim,” “woman,” “black person” …
One essential element has not been mentioned: temporal duration. Social identity is necessarily synchronic—that is, it has to be defined in relation to other identities at some point in time, coexisting combining, intersecting with, differing from, being close to or distant from others. Memory is crucial to identity at all levels of social structure. At the most fundamental, individual persons have a constant awareness that they are the same individual, today and yesterday: this awareness is not possible without episodic memory, that aspect of the memory system that deals with events in which one has been involved. Importantly episodic memory is linked with memory for locations. It is not surprising to find that identity at the macro-social level of the nation depends heavily on displays of claimed origins and histories on the one hand and of the symbolic circumscribing of the “land” a people claims to “belong to” or which is claimed to “belong to” the people.
Identities have to be relative stable over time or they can play no social function. This does not mean of course that identities do not mutate into changed identities or disappear altogether, as organizations and countries do over historical time. Collective memories, like individual ones, can be both selective and inventive. Individual persons can, with or without memory revision, modify an adopted identity, shed one altogether, adopt or build a new one. At least, this is ← xi | xii → the case from the point of view of certain ways of talking—certain discourses— in some parts of contemporary society.
I have mentioned the role of language in fixing category concepts and in signaling a social act of self-identification. But what exactly is this relationship between language—and thus discourse—and identity? Is it simply that human language is just one more instrument that can be used for the purpose of signaling identity, alongside other signals, such as clothing, hair-style, accoutrements, badges, gesture, posture, etc? It helps to understand the relationship between discourse and identity, and their fundamental importance to human society, if one takes a very long (and admittedly speculative) perspective on human language, society and evolution.
An element in the evolution of language is territoriality. Many animals signal territory by olfactory markers. Many species use auditory means. In chimpanzees, calls serve to mark the territory of a family, to enable family members to be in contact with one another, conceivably to signal availability for cooperation. Birds signal territory, flock membership and perhaps individual identity by call. In humans, individuals can also be identified by the acoustic-auditory properties of their voices, their “voiceprint,” and when they are using language there are individual phonetic characteristics in what is called “accent” that correspond to group membership understood in terms of geographical space or social space or both at the same time. Phonetic markers can to some degree be modified at will and individuals do indeed change their accent as group membership markers. Phonetic features are not the only social signals that link individuals to social and geographical territory; lexical grammatical choices also have this function, in addition to their principal function of communicating thought. Indeed, communicating ideas could be an add-on in evolutionary terms. These considerations strongly suggest that, if identity is linked with territory in a broad sense, human language is deeply involved in identity marking within a social context. Linguistic markers can act as a means of constructing and signaling identities at every level.
Linguistic diversity is a fact of human communication. Whatever the details of their evolutionary origin, languages must have become sufficiently divergent through internal language change, migration and isolation to lead to mutual unintelligibility. A side effect of unintended unintelligibility could be exploitation of this fact, both for self and other signaling and for strategic planning without risking loss of information to rivals. It is possible, however, that in some situations, within self-identifying same-language communities, linguistic unintelligibility is purposefully chosen. This seems to happen also within self-identifying language communities when sub-groups create in-group vocabularies not understandable, ← xii | xiii → or not fully understandable to outsiders, or when in-group members adopt lexico-grammatical patterns that act simply as signals of membership to both insiders and outsiders. They can act also as markers of desirable “territory,” where “territory,” or “turf” as it is called, can be understood as sectors of the social space that occupiers seek to protect.
The notion that a homogeneous national language matches a bounded territory and a national identity is, however, an idealized abstraction. It is one that in some historical circumstances drives attempts to impose language identity on groups that are actually multilingual. Examples are officially monolingual states such as France and the United States. The reverse is also true: language varieties, i.e. closely related but formally different linguistic systems, can be claimed as grounds for unitary national states, as has happened throughout history in the Balkan states. Within communities whose members would consider themselves as speaking the “same language,” there are kaleidoscopic differences in the selection of lexico-grammatical features from that “same language.” Some of the most salient of these have to do with self- and other-identification on the geographical and social levels. This is the case in England, where there is a gross north-south identification of individuals based mainly on vowel distinctions. In England, how one shapes ones tongue when uttering the word written “bus” shapes one’s subjective and perceived identity and can potentially shape one’s status, career prospects, and level of income.
At a smaller scale of social structure, organizations and institutions (commercial, educational, religious, etc.) seek multimodal identifying markers such as logos and slogans, but also within their structures the phenomenon of identity marking emerges, frequently manifest in relatively unobtrusive linguistic choices. In one university I have worked in I observed the spread of a territorial call and group marker, ‘across the piece, across the piece’, serving to signal insiders and outsiders, and also to mark identification with the prevailing business ideology.
Such examples are not difficult to find; they appear everywhere from playgrounds to parliaments and always involve language, even where other modalities are operating. It is a fundamental error, as is now well acknowledge by scholars, to think that individuals have one identity. Individuals have multiple and changeable identities, identities that are mobilized for particular situations and particular purposes. In all cases, it seems, individuals feel their identities as constituting their very selves, however they are determined. While some of these identities may be lost or changed, threats to individual identities produce deep psychological insecurity. ← xiii | xiv →
In the mediatized age human societies now have the means to disseminate, by way of discourse, identity markers on a mass scale. The existence of national broadcasting contributes to the consolidation of political and cultural identities. Within a monolinguistic community media have the means to represent identities that are recognizable within that community, and to repeat such representations in ways that maintain them. Broadcasting can operate as a vast feedback mechanism, in some ways similar to the face-to-face social behaviors that create group identities in smaller and unmediatized societies, or even similar in function to the grooming behaviors of our primate ancestors and cousins.
Media systems go far beyond this, however. They are subject to political power and control, either directly or indirectly, and to manipulation by commercial interests through advertising and commissioning values. In such a context the role of journalists and their professional ethics and value needs to be addressed by discourse analysts. One of the most intriguing aspects of mediatized communication is its fictive and entertainment function. It is a mode that channels the human practices of myth making, story telling and gossip – narrative practices that play such an important role in the everyday social interaction of traditional unmediatized societies. Such face-to-face interaction is replace, or supplemented, by commercially organized social media, with constraining as well as enabling effects on current communication roles and concepts (think of “friends” and “followers,” for example). Importantly, however, from the printed pamphlet to the tweet , media constitute a vast decentered marketplace, where communities and identities are built and rebuilt in millions of minds. The implications for humans are still not understood and discourse analysts have a role in continuously renewing and extending our understanding of our changing modes of communication. This is a role that is particularly important at moments and in places of cultural, socioeconomic and political change.
In this brief Preface I have tried only to outline some of the most general and abstract ways in which discourse embodies identity. In the present era the intense interest shown by scholars in this issue is probably due in large part to the phenomenon of globalization, which involves not only physical movement of people but also the identities that are in their minds and their outward cultural markers. It is hard to generalize over such complex dynamic flows or to guess at their implications for human beings. What is certainly needed is for linguists, cultural analysts, sociologists, psychologists and other scholars to provide detailed descriptions and to raise questions. The present book offers an extraordinarily diverse array of such studies.
| xv →
I want to express my gratitude for the extremely generous support from the Study of the US Branch in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the US Department of State, and for introducing me to Monika Weronika Kopytowska. I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to co-edit this book with Monika. With her intellectually stimulating concepts of examining discourse, she introduced me to new ways of conducting discourse analysis, while allowing thought-provoking discussions and formulations that have added a great deal to my understanding of why discourse matters.
Research on Why Discourse Matters: Negotiating Identities in a Mediatized World grew out of my deep respect for the richness of this research approach and methodology. In addition, as co-editor of this interdisciplinary project, I have heavily depended on other veteran prominent scholars in the field of critical discourse research—as well as emerging discourse scholars—to make a strong case for why discourse matters. As will become apparent in the chapters presented here, the contributing authors present key themes, concepts, constructs, and theories from journalism and media perspectives that address contemporary issues, processes, and formulations that have gained a particular prominence in discourse studies. On behalf of my colleague, Monika, and the publishers, I wish to thank all contributing authors of the chapters and our copy editor, Kenneth MacLean, for their invaluable contribution to this interdisciplinary approach of discourse analysis.
Among those who provided invaluable editorial feedback on this book is Kenneth MacLean, who copy edited and read all the chapters. Although the conceptual and analytical narratives were clearly improved by the co-editors, we are very grateful for the constructive suggestions provided by the external reviewers who read the manuscript for Peter Lang Publishing, especially Todd Sandel, of the University of Oklahoma. I also extend my deepest thanks to one of my research assistants at Ohio University, Nisha Garud, who spent endless hours cleaning up the Bibliography and the Index. I hope that the experience Nisha gained from this project will be beneficial to her future research projects in discourse analysis, as well as other research methods she is pursuing.
My work as an international comparative scholar would not be exciting without the moral support, aptitude, and mentoring of an inspirational academic leader, ← xv | xvi → Dr. Robert (Bob) Stewart, director of the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. I would like to assume that I am a better scholar as a result of my academic exchanges and support from mentors like Dr. Stewart and Dr. Anne Cooper-Chen. I also would like to thank Dr. Steve Howard, head of the African Studies Program at Ohio University, for his helpful resource and continued support of my academic life. I owe my love of teaching and my quest for advancing and spreading knowledge globally to my two sons, Ragan and Isaac Kalyango. The deepest love I have for my two sons is the culmination of this project, and other ambitious endeavors.
I express the same appreciation to the Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) on Journalism and Media, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, for providing this opportunity to connect with Dr. Yusuf Kalyango Jr., head of the SUSI program in the Institute for International Journalism at Ohio University. His research expertise and rigor are contagious. I echo Yusuf ’s acknowledgements to our chapter authors from all over the world and to our editorial assistants at Ohio University. We have learned so much from working with our contributing authors. We are humbled by their tenacity and patience while we edited and composed this volume.
My academic work would not be exciting and thorough without the encouragement, philosophical emancipation, and intellectual fortitude of my inspirational academic leaders, Prof. Piotr Stalmaszczyk, Dean of the Faculty of Philology, University of Lodz; and Prof. Piotr Cap, Head of the Department of Pragmatics, University of Lodz. Among those to whom I am indebted are prominent scholars in the field of pragmatics and critical discourse research: Prof. Ruth Wodak, Prof. Paul Chilton, and Prof. Jef Verschueren, and others—whose expertise and guidance have led us in discovering why discourse matters in constructing social reality.
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- Publication date
- 2013 (June)
- journalism linguistics empirical evidence
- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 380 pp.